April 16, 2014

Jeanette Grider

Education Professor Takako Nomi, Ph.D., Receives $45,000 Grant

Takako Nomi, Ph.D. assistant professor in the department of educational studies, has a received a $45,824 grant from the Spencer Foundation of Chicago, Ill.

Takako Nomi, Ph.D.

The grant will fund the research project "Pathway to College: Understanding the Mechanism of the Long-term Impact of Ninth-grade Algebra Intervention on Student's Educational Attainment in Urban Schools."

The goal of Nomi's research is to understand how the "double-dose algebra" policy in Chicago affected long-term outcomes. Double-dose algebra is a widely used strategy especially in urban districts to assist struggling students to succeed in ninth-grade algebra--a gateway course for later educational attainment. Her earlier research, funded by Institute of Education Sciences, showed overall positive impacts on both short-term and long-term outcomes, which include 10th-grade algebra test scores, algebra course grades, high school graduation and college enrollment.

In this research, Nomi will investigate the policy mechanisms that link short-term to long-term impacts by looking at students' math course taking patterns between 10th and 12th grades, their course grades, credit accumulation and the timing of dropping out of high school.

The study also investigates possible unintended negative consequences on higher-achieving students who are not targeted by the policy. This could have happened because the policy intensified skill-based segregation of classrooms within school, and, as a result, higher-achieving students attended classes with higher-achieving peers than the peers that they would normally have in the absence of the policy.
Earlier studies showed increases in academic demand as well as algebra failure rates for higher achieving students. By looking at the intermediate outcomes for different groups of students, this study helps us understand how a ninth-grade intervention shapes pathways to collage. This is important as improving outcomes of students in urban high schools may have long lasting effects in their adult years.

About the Spencer Foundation
The Spencer Foundation was established in 1962 by Lyle M. Spencer, a successful business man with a deep commitment to education. The Foundation received its major endowment upon Spencer's death in 1968 and began formal grant making in 1971. Since that time, the Foundation has made grants totaling approximately $250 million. The Foundation is intended, by Spencer's direction, to investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world. From the first, the Foundation has been dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to the improvement in education. The Foundation is thus committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities.

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